Friday, August 18, 2017

Shannon's Donations to Karen's Card Shop

I've received two sets of donations to Karen's Card Shop this week. The first came in from Shannon in Maryland...over 50 cards, mostly sympathy and get well, our fastest sellers.

If you're considering donating to the Card Shop, please know that we truly, desperately need  sympathy and get well cards. Our buyers are mostly the older ladies in the church who mainly want to send sympathy, get well, and birthday cards. Most other themes (except thank you, which are often used by church staff) don't sell well for us.

I especially appreciate all donations of the sympathy and get well cards because I CANNOT keep up with the demand for those. Not even close. They sell really fast!

Many thanks to Shannon for sharing her beautiful work for a good cause. The money we make at Karen's Card Shop goes to three purposes in our church: Cancer: What Now? books for all our church attendees who are diagnosed with cancer, books for Stephen Ministers to use with their care receivers, and the church's general fund. To date, we've made over $840 in a little over a year.

For those interested in setting up their own card shops, you'll find the details of Karen's Card Shop here.

And now, a few of Shannon's many cards.

This bookish beauty was for me! 

Shannon uses a lot of kraft card stock to beautiful effect.

This was my favorite of the lot! White embossing,
a lovely gradation of teal ink, vellum, and sequins.

Gorgeous embossing and use of the diecuts. Plus,
an amazingly soothing color combination.

Another sweet kraft card with just the right touches
of white and an awesome pink heart.

More pressure embossing, great colors, and excellent
placement of diecuts. Love the light feel
of this card.

Butterflies were Karen's favorite...she grew them and released
them with her grandchildren every year. Such a beautiful
card by Shannon with a perfect ribbon, vellum
over dark card stock, and lovely butterflies!

Why not take an idea from one of Shannon's amazing cards and get inspired this weekend?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Christmas Evolution, Part Three

Today, Ellen Hutson's Facebook page asked us to summarize our stamping style in one word.

My word was minimalist.

Today's card makes that point.

All that glorious white space fills my heart with holiday joy!

This card represents the third step in minimalist evolution of an idea. To refresh your mind, here's the original pin; my first card...a rather literal interpretation of the pin; and my second card...a simplified version of the first card. Combine that evolution with the focal point of this pin, and today's card was born.

Two shades of green card stock punched with a fern punch replace the three shades of marker on the pine branch stamp of the cards from Christmas Evolution, Part One and Part Two. Punched once in dark green and twice in lime, the ferns are glued with a glue pen. The bottom lime green fern is glued to the card base completely, while the next two ferns are glued only on the top third. I worried this would be too loose, but it's actually pretty sturdy.

Instead of baker's twine or satin ribbon, I went with solid red twine. The bow was glued down at the center with a dot of white glue and weighed down with my cell phone until dry.

The resulting swag says Christmas without any words.

Evolution of an idea can take you to strange and wonderful places. Let it. I had so much fun making all three of these cards!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: none
ink: none
paper: Papertrey white, dark green, lime green
accessories: red twine, glue pen, fern punch

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Christmas Evolution, Part Two

Yesterday's card was quite satisfying, but the more I looked at it, the more it seemed fussy to my clean-and-simple-loving eye. Inspired by the packaging on this pin, my first card had done its job. But how could I make it less fussy and cleaner and simpler (CASer)?

First, I abandoned the idea of decorative wrapping. Instead, I focused on that fabulous pine branch. Turning the pine branch into a swag eliminated the need for lots of twine because now a simple bow would suffice. Also, no need for a tag! I could let the branch point down directly to a sentiment. This, of course, required a narrower sentiment.

The twine, however, looked oddly light as a bow for the simply didn't have enough visual weight to balance a red sentiment below the branch. I replaced it with a thin, satin ribbon in solid red and found the right balance.

This design didn't require any additions to the pine branch, a simplification that spared me the post-its.

An advantage to yesterday's card is the sense of movement it offers...from the swing of the large twine bow to the angle of the tag to the angle of the branch. Today's card is compact and linear, with just a little curve in branch. That lack of movement is a weakness, I think, but nevertheless, there's a peace and stability to the CASer version that truly makes me happy.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Hero Arts red royal
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, glue, Memento markers, water spritzer, red satin ribbon

Monday, August 14, 2017

Christmas Evolution, Part One

I went to my son's special education open house tonight. He's starting ninth grade, and he was very tired. You see, I asked him a week and a half ago to pull weeds. He kept putting it off until yesterday and today. A job that should have taken one hour has taken him about six because, as he is learning, weeds don't pull themselves while you kneel next to them and daydream.

At the open house, he told every teacher we met that he doesn't want to work. Every teacher said he would have to work...but they would make it fun!

Now, I want to go to ninth grade. Jack wants to stay home, watch movies, eat pretzels, and interact with as few people as possible. Except for band. If school consisted only of band, he'd enjoy it.

Of course, practicing his trumpet at home is work, and he doesn't like work.

My head hurts.

Anyway, today we're starting a three-part series on the evolution of clean-and-simple style by examining how I take a relatively simple design and over the course of three cards make the concept increasingly simple, until a few of you will itch at the amount of white space.

Doesn't that sound like fun?

My first inspiration came from the following pin:


Love this! So much goodness here. My first card shows a pretty direct translation of gift wrapping to a card, although I did change the black to red for a more traditional color scheme.

To create some dimension on the pine branch, I inked up the whole stamp with a Memento new sprout marker, then dabbed Memento bamboo and cottage ivy markers over the new sprout in a random way. Finally, a couple of spritzes of water blended the colors, and the resulting image is lovely! (Note that I did add another frond to the branch as it looked a bit skimpy on the stamped panel.)

This card took a shockingly long time to make. Three attempts on the banner (don't ask) and getting the bow just right and adding to the pine branch...not so simple. Check out the accessories list of NINE items. That never happens.

Tomorrow, we'll see how I took that branch and gave it a CASer setting and much smaller accessory list.

Did I just invent a new word? CASer? Wow. Now I'm too lazy to type cleaner-and-simpler. Jack's rubbing off on me.

And since this post is degenerating into acronym abuse, let's end with two pictures of our roly-poly puppy. He's five weeks old and cute beyond words! Labor Day weekend can't come soon enough.

Serious Pup...or Disapproving Pup. Hard to tell.

Happy Pup. Obviously.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and puppies,

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Hero Arts red royal
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensional, craft foam, glue, baker's twine, tape runner (to attach twine on back of raised panel...'cause that's easier than getting the twine lined up regularly), Memento markers, water spritzer, post-its to add frond to branch, awl to punch hole in tag because the hole punch mangled the first two tags, which has never happened before and did not amuse me

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Feeling Grateful for Pinterest

Y'all, Pinterest is fabulous. I adore it. It's perfectly acceptable hoarding for minimalists. I can pin anything, and it doesn't take up any space and requires no plastic bins for storage. If you want to follow my cards page on Pinterest, click here. To see the rest of my boards, click here.

Note that the latest Google updates turned off my Pinterest button, but I've turned it back on.

This pin inspired today's card.

Card size 6 1/4" x 3 1/2"

My colors aren't an exact match (my pink is brighter and my green is mintier), and the stamps have a completely different feel from the original, but you can certainly see the provenance of this card. I did change the shape of the card and placed the sentiment closer to the squares.

So by changing the stamps, shades of colors, and tweaking the layout, you can get a "different" card. Don't feel like you always have to go radically different with an inspiration piece.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts (sentiment), Papertrey Embellished Elegance
ink: Memento grape jelly, Hero Arts tidal pool and cotton candy, Archival black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, glue, rhinestones

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Cards Received and a Question

I've received some lovely cards in the past month.

From Pat. Pat's choice of colors makes me so summery and happy!
The black scalloped border is perfect with the black embossed sentiment,
and the sequins add just the right amount of shine.

From Linda. Her watercolor effects are simply stunning,
and the scalloped border  with stitching add a subtle,
perfect frame.

From Eva. Eva's cards are usually more embellished and layered...for this one,
she wanted to make something more LateBlossomy. I just love the clean
simplicity of her simple blossoms!

Thank you, Pat, Linda, and Eva for brightening my days!

Isn't it simply splendid how our hobby lets us express ourselves in so many ways? I adore all three cards--not just because they were sent to me, but because they show the range of styles we can embrace, try out, experiment with.

What style are you playing with this weekend? Is it your usual style, or are you branching out? What style are you most drawn to? Or are you a promiscuous stamper who will flirt with all sorts of styles?

Inquiring minds, and all that.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Snail Mail

Today's card was inspired by this pin of a scrapbook page. I adore the scrapbook page (it's almost enough to get me back into scrapping) and wanted to do something colorful with the You're a Fungi set from Hero Arts. Two different ideas came together to make this.

The snail and mushroom were colored with Copics.

The unusual layout of the scrapbook page yielded up an extremely unique layout for the card. It's quite satisfying, actually!

Many thanks for the comments and emails regarding Red and the heroin epidemic. I'll keep you posted on the puppy!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts You're a Fungi
ink: Memento black
paper: Gina K white, StampinUp black
accessories: Copics, ruler, black marker

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Life is Weird

Last night, our Stephen Ministry group hosted a presentation on the heroin epidemic. I've been working on this for a while...but my job was to provide the place, introduce the speaker after Pastor said a prayer, and then watch while the most amazing public meeting unfolded in front of me.

I'm still processing. It's overwhelming. I live ten minutes south of Dayton, Ohio, the epicenter of the heroin epidemic. Last night I learned things...but mostly I learned how little I know, how little anyone knows, and how many pieces to this 3-D puzzle there are. Complex doesn't begin to describe it. Now we need to figure out how our church will respond to what we learned last night and how to fight the culture of shame and silence that surrounds heroin addiction that pervades our community.

I'm terribly sleep deprived. Which explains why I drove off this morning to take my son to the hospital for an appointment...without my son. My husband had to call to tell me I left the boy at home. Fortunately, I hadn't left the neighborhood, but this pathetic parenting moment is brought to you courtesy of several nights of poor sleep and utter distractedness.

In the midst of all this huge, scary, overwhelming stuff, however, there is a fuzzy spot of joy in my life. We have chosen a puppy from the litter of favorite. YAY!!!!

The pup is too young to leave his mother yet, but his breeder shares photos and videos daily.

We've almost decided on a name, but for now he's Red because the breeder puts a different color ribbon around each puppy's neck to distinguish them. Our choice wears red.

But clearly that name doesn't apply to the puppy himself.

Red is on the left. He's the largest of the three by half a pound.
This was his first time on the grass!

Red on the left again. That pink tongue makes me want
to smell his puppy breath! This picture
shows just how much bigger he is than
his brother and sister.

He knew just what to do with the crate, waddling
into it and crashing immediately.
Sleeping puppy!!!!

It's been awhile since I tried uploading a video in Blogger. PTSD from the last time, I suspect. But we'll see if this works. Red was the last of the three pups to walk because he got too fat. As you can see, he's coming along nicely. *waddle, waddle, stagger, waddle*


My apologies if the video doesn't work. I'm going straight to bed and will try to fix any glitches in the morning.

Can you tell my faith in Blogger is a bit shaky?

And here's a picture of Red's big sister, our beautiful Daisy. She has no idea how her life will change Labor Day weekend!

Seven-year-old Daisy.
If reincarnation is a thing, I want to come back
as a dog owned by a family like ours. 

So there you have it. I live in the epicenter of the biggest health crisis of the 21st century, and I'm getting a blonde furball of epic cuteness.

Life is weird.

Please feel free to share your weird life in the comments. The good. The bad. And if you're the praying kind, please pray for those who are caught up in heroin addiction. They are victims. So are their loved ones.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Thank You, Linda!

Reader Linda E. sent me an enormous selection of watercolor papers, with labels and everything!

She included a gorgeous watercolor card I will post in a closeup later this week (because to post it today would make my own feeble effort look laughable!).

What a kind and generous gift from a kind and generous person.

Here's my first card made with some of this incredible stash.

It was so fun to make! I started off experimenting with a technique I stumbled across on Pinterest, but the results of my experimenting would qualify as an epic Pinterest Fail. In irritation, I fell back on a tried-and-true faux watercolor technique: I used StampinUp markers and a water spritzer to stamp a circle. The result looked vaguely earth-like and ever-so-satisfying.

I thought it would be perfect with a few hearts (stamped in pigment ink for some opacity) and appropriate sentiment...and it is!

The Strathmore 140# cold press paper took the image beautifully. As with many watercolor papers, it's not pure white, so I put it on a Papertrey vintage cream base, which matched pretty well. The thin, red mat gives just a bit of pop and highlights the reds of the hearts and sentiment.

Thank you, Linda, from the bottom of my heart. This card is for you!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Altenew Sentiments and Quotes, Hero Arts Acts of Kindness, StampinUp circle
paper: Strathmore 140# CP watercolor paper, StampinUp real red, and Papertrey vintage cream
ink: Memento Luxe black and love letter
accessories: StampinUp markers (turquoise and green galore), water spritzer

Monday, August 7, 2017

What to Do with Extra Bling

If you're like me, you have a tendency to, ahem, over-buy items you use a lot. For me, that's bling. Since investing in enough Copic markers to matter, not to mention a full set of Sharpies, custom coloring clear bling is much easier than trying to match colored bling...which fills my embellishment drawers in abundance.

Green is a perfect example. I have about a hundred shades of green rhinestones.  (Okay. I exaggerate. But still....)

So I made this.

My, oh my! That's a lot of bling! But it barely put a dent in my green bling collection.

To make this sparkly wreath, I stamped a circle in very light green ink (Memento new sprout) and put a punched circle of white card stock in the center of it. Then, I added large rhinestones, then medium, and then small.

The frame became more layered than expected, simply because the piece looked rather boring on a white card base, and the green seemed to overwhelm the wreath. The thin, red mat draws attention to the red banner and provides a festive pop.

Now, ordinarily I shy away from using red for a peace sentiment. After all, red conjures images of blood whether we want it to or not.

"No!" you say. "Holly berries! Santa's outfit! Poinsettias! Cranberries! Yadda! Yadda!"

But there's always blood, too, hovering along the edges of our subconscious, where red is concerned. I'm an English major. I know these things. Authors simply cannot make anything red in literature without implying blood. It's a rule, sort of like pears symbolizing what we will euphemistically refer to as "twigs and berries."

Occasionally, however, we just need to tell our subconscious to shut up. This card is one of those times.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts circle stamp, Papertrey Winterberry sentiment
ink: Memento new sprout, Hero Arts red royal
paper: Papertrey white, StampinUp real red, some random green
accessories: rhinestones, circle punch, dimensional, square punches

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Peace in the Parts

When I started playing with the two wood-mounted Hero Arts winter scene stamps in my hidden stamp stash, I remembered why they were hidden.

They are somewhat challenging to stamp, requiring just the right amount of ink or detail is lost. Pigment ink works best, as long as the pad isn't too juicy. Can you tell I ruined a lot of perfectly good paper that day? Of course, you can.

Also, getting a variety of looks with them is challenging. Neither one is proportioned to fit evenly on a standard card, and their larger size limits variety of layouts as well. I feel like every card I make with them looks the same as every other card. *sigh*

Nevertheless they are beautiful. Since I've been on a square-punch kick, today's card plays up how useful it is to have graduated punches in basic shapes.

The white squares make a lovely CAS frame for the small snowy scene, and the sentiment placement moves your eye around the design. Very satisfying!

So today's design lesson is this: don't give up on larger images. Look for parts that will stand alone. Play with cropping larger images into smaller ones. You never know what pretty card might happen!

Mercy grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts Winter Scene, Papertrey Winterberry sentiment
ink: Memento Luxe Danube blue
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: square punches, glue

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Something a Little Different

I'm currently in Maryland visiting my mom, sister, brother-in-law, niece, and nephews. YAY!!! Mom, who is a fine artist, came up with the idea of a wine-and-painting part.

Did someone say wine?

I'm in!

So I chose a photo from my trip to Normandy...a glass of wine with pain au chocolate on top of the glass. George and I sat in the garden at our hotel, relaxing after a day of visiting D-Day sites. The wine and bread on the table felt eucharistic to me.

We spent quite a lot of time in cathedrals and churches while we were in Normandy.

Anyway, here's the picture.

And I painted this (with a bit of help from mom on the glass).

Maybe I shouldn't give up stamping, eh?

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and eucharistic thanksgivings,

Healing Wishes and the Hazard of Too Much

Soft blues and greens are soothing and, therefore, perfect for a get-well card.

The large starburst flower from Hero Arts resided in my stamp storage far too long. Finding these "hidden" stamps in my basement brought them back to life for me, confirming that long-term storage proves the axiom that absence makes the heart grow fonder.

I've made this recommendation before but reiterate: purging your stash of excess supplies by storing them out of sight (in a basement or back-room closet or climate-controlled attic) for a year refreshes your love of those supplies or shows you clearly what you didn't miss and can safely sell or donate. After years of following this pattern, I've delighted in the rediscovery of old stamps, and I've happily gotten rid of a lot as well.

Overabundance can kill creativity, and too often we feel crippled by too much choice given large stashes of craft supplies we can't let go of. Long-term storage solves the problem.

Give it a try!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts, Papertrey
ink: Hero Arts mint julep, soft pool; Archival black, sky blue
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, Copics to color the rhinestones

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Sending Sunshine

Another card with the rediscovered wood-mounted stamps. This one's for you, Sue C.

This Hero Arts flower stamp is delightful, but I can't remember stamping it using the "markers and spritzing" technique before. The detail of the spiky dandelion-looking flowers gets lost in this watery technique, but when done in yellow and orange, the sunshiny results are simply delightful.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and sunshine,

stamps: Hero Arts, Papertrey
ink: Hero Arts cup o' Joe
paper: Papertrey white, orange
accessories: StampinUp and Memento markers, water spritzer, rhinestones

Monday, July 31, 2017

Hip to Be Square

I found a bunch of wood-mounted stamps in a storage cabinet in my basement that I'd forgotten were there. Here's one drawer of them:

Of course, there was no way to resist playing with this goodness. The Hero Arts international stamp set called to me, and since my square punches were already on my desk, they factor into the resulting card.

I LOVE this card!

And yes, that says a LOT about what kind of obsessive-compulsive neat freak I am.

It's hip to be square, right?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: various pigment inks
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: 3/4" square punch, dimensionals

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Small Delights

Strong color pops off white, but the high contrast can sometimes look rather harsh. Adding some medium gray eases the transition in a rather elegant way!

4.25" Square Card

The butterfly has text from Papertrey's Text Style set, with the words "small delights" in the center. The purple-red panel was inked with seedless preserves (Tim Holtz Distress ink), so there's a bit of variation in the color, which adds some interest. The dark purple-red panel looked odd on the white all by itself, so I decided to stamp a shadow stamp in Memento Luxe London fog on a scrap of white. The Memento Luxe on white looks just like suede.

It just made sense to put this assembly on a square card. That way, the angle of the butterfly is the only asymmetry...which really draws attention to the small delights.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love in small delights,

stamps: Papertrey Text Style, stitch set; Hero Arts shadow
ink: Memento Luxe London fog, Archival black, Distress seedless preserves, Hero Arts soft granite
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: square punches, butterfly punch, inking tool, glue pen

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Revisiting Inchies

After staring at pins like this, this, and this, I felt inspired to make this:

Here's a closer look at that inchie, which is actually 1.25", but who's measuring? (Well, I am.)

The background was stamped using one of Hero Arts' spectrum pads, and the two tiny stars were punched from a scrap stamped with the same background image (from Papertrey's Ombre Builders) and ink. The larger punched star is accented with a bling star colored with a Copic to match the darker blue on the stamped stitch border and sentiment.

Dreamy stars!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey stitch set, Ombre Builders; StampinUp sentiment
ink: Hero Arts ombre pad, Archival cobalt
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, star punches, star bling, Copic for coloring the bling

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Riviera Looks Nice This Time of Year

I just know you've had this happen to you. I was innocently rummaging around in Marco's Paper last week, and an inkpad leaped into my basket. All. By. Itself.

That Kaleidacolor Riviera ink pad chose me...not the other way around. So it's not my fault. Not at all. Surely you understand this sort of thing.

But I'm not so sure my husband would.

Anywho, I played around with the inkpad and came up with three fun cards. Isn't the Riviera just lovely?

The first card uses a single image that covers the whole pad. (The layout came from this pin, by the way.) The touch of purple on the sentiment helped bring the raised panel and feather together, but the raised panel still looked too plain (even for me), so I dragged the edges over the purple part of the Kaleidacolor pad. That worked fine.

Next, I wanted to let the Riviera spectrum move from one image to the next, so Clearly Besotted's Everything Changes butterflies filled the need nicely. So girly and feminine, don't you think?

Finally, I wanted to let my minimalist freak flag fly with maximum white space and a single layer. I adore the movement in this one, and the bling! EEEP!

Which is your favorite and why?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Waltzingmouse Fine Feathers, Clearly Besotted Everything Changes, sentiments from Papertrey
ink: Kaleidacolor Riviera, Memento black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, Copics and Sharpies to color them

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Peace Like a Snowflake

Today's card is both incredibly clean and messy. Not that it looks messy in completed form, but still.

Card size: 6.25" x 3.5"

To make the raised panels, I took a scrap of cardstock and embossed the word peace and two different snowflakes on it with white embossing powder. Using Tim Holtz chipped sapphire and seedless preserves distress ink and mini inking tools, I inked the daylights out of that scrap of cardstock.

Does anyone else get ink all over even using those handy inking tools? Seriously. My fingers were blue the rest of the day.

A 3/4" square punch turned the mess into three very precise squares. A 1" square punch gave the three squares each very precise mats, and a quilting ruler allowed me to place each square precisely in a row in the exact center of the card precisely 1/4" apart.

As you might imagine, all that precision made my heart go pitter patter.

Note the variations in the color. That was on purpose. With so little to look at amidst so much white space, it was important for there to be some variation. Peace is off-center, while the snowflakes are centered. The middle square is much darker than the other two. The snowflakes are different because, as we all know, no two snowflakes are alike.

May peace fall on you like a snowflake caught on your tongue...quite, calm, soft. May it dissolve into you like that snowflake and become a part of you, if only for a moment.

We need those moments of peace in the middle of the mess, don't we?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love...but especially peace,

stamps: various (translation: I can't remember)
ink: Tim Holtz seedless preserves and chipped sapphire, clear embossing ink
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals, inking tools, white embossing powder, 3/4" and 1" square punches